An elderly woman was recently the victim of a sexual assault at a Kindred-owned nursing facility. Reports indicate the facility is still providing substandard care and putting all residents in immediate risk of harm. Even more concerning to our skilled Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers is that the threat of harm may not be limited to a single facility. Kindred Healthcare Inc. owns and operates 226 nursing home facilities across the nation, and 6 hospitals in Illinois alone.
According to a report by the Knoxville Sentinel News, no new admissions will be allowed to the Fairpark Healthcare Center in Maryville until the facility fixes serious problems involving the rights of residents, employee performance, and security procedures.
The admissions ban comes after an investigation conducted by Kentucky Department of Health officials between August 13 and August 20, 2012. The investigation was sparked by a report from an 89-year-old dementia patient who told family members that she was raped by a stranger at the nursing home. The woman was eventually taken to the emergency room and moved to another facility.
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The investigation revealed serious problems at the nursing home that may have contributed to the victim’s injuries. First, employees failed to properly prevent the sexual assault by taking necessary safety precautions. Nursing homes are required by law to maintain an environment for residents that is free from all forms of abuse. When this non-delegable duty is violated, a nursing home lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the victim with the help of a skilled nursing home attorney.
The Fairview nursing home also failed to timely notify the victim’s physician, conduct questioning, provide counseling, or increase security measures following the sexual assault incident. Prior to the attack, the facility was unable to implement new interventions, place extra staff at the doors, or install surveillance cameras. Until the facility complies with all necessary measures, it will be fined $6,000 per day and no new residents can be admitted.
Sexual abuse of nursing home patients is a rare but serious problem for nursing home residents. Nursing homes are legally required to protect patients from sexual abuse and other assaults. When these unfortunate incidents happen, nursing home staff is also required to make a timely report with state agencies. Failure to comply with the law may result in both an investigation and civil lawsuit. Sexual assaults are traumatic for victims, particularly those involving mentally or physically handicapped patients who may be unable to explain what happened to them.
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Sadly, many reports of sexual abuse go undiscovered because residents may be embarrassed to explain the incident, or nursing home employees may even try to hide the details in order to protect their reputation. It is important that loved ones learn to identify signs of sexual abuse, such sexually transmitted diseases, changes in behavior, or bruising and pain in the genital area. Just knowing these telltale symptoms and reporting them as soon as possible after the event may help protect everyone at the nursing home from further misconduct.
When we place our loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility, we place a great deal of trust in the staff. We expect that our loved ones will be properly cared for and protected from harm, and we have a legal right to do so. When this right is violated, a Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer can help you and your family collect maximum compensation and prevent further harm from occurring at the facility.